Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Comparing F&M illos

I opened the older ones yesterday to see how the new one compares, and here are my observations. First, and this is what I was specifically looking for - the poses of the main characters are exceptionally weak in the new one. Though Faf was poorly posed in Spearpoint as well. The mouser is well posed in the top 2 images but not the newest one. The strongest 'heroic fantasy' pose and shapes - definitely Fafhrd from Double Trouble (middle image). It's largely because in the latest one I was thinking more Golden Age illustrators than Frazetta. But actually, the Golden dudes used great poses too - it was just more subtle. I need to keep that in mind, even when I'm going for less muscular, more human images.

And then I noticed a couple other things. Each image is divided vertically into 2 parts, on the left is a figure or figures close to viewer, and on the right space drops away into the distance with a figure or figures away off back there. Also some time ago I did a comparison between just the first 2 images and noted other compositional similarities. Those exist in somewhat mutated form here as well - the mist forming a rippled triangular shape descending from the right that sort of wraps around some closer landscape/architectural form on the left (the building). Stream, wall and cobblestoned road all form a path emphasizing this wrapping-around into the distance.

Weird factor - each image has a red creature, or with a large red mark anyway. In the last case the eye was described as red in the story, so that wasn't my choice. I also notice the new creature is placed very similarly to the red flying lizard.

Well, at least these similarities aren't too apparent, and I suspect it's fairly common to use similar compositions in the learning stage. I'm definitely going to thumbnail from here on out, and that will allow me to consider compositional choices consciously rather than just letting them happen randomly.

I remember when I did the flying lizard I did make the color choice to link it to the earlier creature - though that one isn't menacing but friendly. I think it all relates back to a decision I made on the Cosmos film to use colors to encode certain things - I remember deciding that "in this fictional/symbolic world gray represents utilities" (trash can, water pipes, etc). That decision seems to have carried through. Well, or rather my film studies have prepared me to encode things by color and other symbolic traits - shape, placement etc.


I just happened across a painting using the same composition as mine. Ironically (?) it's in a book I just Kindled called Pictorial Composition: An Introduction. Yes, I'm investigating composition with new vigor because of the discussion about it in relation to talent. This old Dover book is apparently an amazing work on the subject that has rarely been matched. Behold:

Well hey - it's good to know that I re-invented a classic!! This has it all - the close figures on the left with a tree behind them that the space seems to pivot around, a path leading into the distance and curving around the tree, a sort of wall form (trees) coming in from the right edge to wrap around the tree… Only thing missing is a little Mouser off in the distance!

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